NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 21, 2008

Washington is teeing up "the rich" for a big tax hike next year, as a way to make them "pay their fair share."  Well, the latest IRS data have arrived on who paid what share of income taxes in 2006, and it's going to be hard for the rich to pay any more than they already do, says the Wall Street Journal. 

The new IRS data show that the 2003 Bush tax cuts caused what may be the biggest increase in tax payments by the rich in American history:

  • The top 1 percent of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40 percent of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years.
  • The top 10 percent in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71 percent.
  • The top 50 percent in income paid 97.1 percent.
  • Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9 percent of all income taxes.

We also know from income mobility data that a very large percentage in the top 1 percent are "new rich," not inheritors of fortunes, says the Journal.  But the most amazing part of this story is the leap in the number of Americans who declared adjusted gross income of more than $1 million from 2003 to 2006:

  • The ranks of U.S. millionaires nearly doubled to 354,000 from 181,000 in a mere three years after the tax cuts.
  • Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006 from $136 billion in 2003.
  • These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 from 3.5 percent in 2003.

The idea that this has been a giveaway to the rich is a figment of the left's imagination, says the Journal.  No President has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his 2003 tax cuts.

Source: Editorial, "Their Fair Share," Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008.

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